The Comparative and International Law Institute (CILI) sponsors lectures and symposia on current topics related to international law. Lecturers have included justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, representatives from USAID, the World Bank and various federal agencies, and practicing lawyers from distinguished law firms, who have shared their perspectives on issues including economic development, terrorism and international trade. For past events, see CILI News and Events.

Students also have the opportunity to conduct research with Catholic Law faculty members engaged in projects all over the world and with faculty members from non-U.S. academic institutions. This unique outreach provides students with research opportunities within and outside of the United States with experts in many areas of the law. Projects have included the development of human rights laws and policies in transitional countries and clinical legal education in Central and Eastern Europe.


In 1992, the Law School launched the International Business and Trade Summer Law Program in Kraków, Poland, in cooperation with the prestigious Jagiellonian University. At the time, Poland was a country in transition, making it an ideal site for the study of comparative law, international constitutional law, and business and trade. Today, Poland has emerged as one of the most dynamic economies in the European Union, attracting investment from Germany, China, the United States and many other countries. Foreign investment has driven down labor costs, raised productivity, and contributed to the transformation of Poland into a successful market economy.

The International Business and Trade Summer Law Program provides students with the unique opportunity to receive intensive training in the global aspects of modern business and trade, and in comparative perspectives of regulated industries and antitrust laws in the U.S. and the EU. Students study with English-speaking Polish students, making the program a true cultural exchange. The rigorous curriculum is enhanced with cultural activities and historical excursions. For students interested in acquiring practical experience in either an American or Polish law firm or legal institution, externship placements may be arranged through the director of the program, Professor Leah Wortham. An externship in Kraków may fulfill the CILI Practical Training requirement.


Students participating in the International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome, Italy, earn four credits over a concentrated three-week program of study. Students will study and live in Rome, the Eternal City, which is home to the Holy See, a major international advocate for human rights and provider of humanitarian relief throughout the world. Rome is the headquarters of the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization as well as other legal and humanitarian institutions of interest to those studying human rights. In addition, Rome’s historical, cultural, religious, and legal significance make it a perfect setting for a concentrated study of human rights law.

During the three week session, students select two 2-credit courses from a group of rotating courses focusing on different aspects of human rights law. Formal study is supplemented with planned visits to local legal institutions and organizations, as well as the opportunity to explore the city of Rome and enjoy some of Italy’s religious, cultural, and historic treasures. At the completion of the program, students will still have over two months free for summer employment before classes commence for the fall semester. Alternatively, students may continue their legal studies by participating in the International Business and Trade Summer Law Program in Kraków.


The student-run International Law Students Association provides an important complement to the Institute. Although the Institute does not administer ILSA, the group provides students with opportunities to become acquainted with Institute programs and the broad scope of international law through lectures and conferences, including panels on career opportunities in international law. The society also has a critical role in the management of the Jessup Cup International Moot Court Competition.